Empty nesters: converting a child's bedroom to another use
By Monika Hillemacher May 5, 2011, 3:06 GMT
Berlin - When children leave the home a new era begins for parents. It's a time to think about the future and time for a change. A freed up room in the house presents opportunities to make a dream come true like converting it into a work room, a place to relax or somewhere to send a snoring partner at night.
A hobby room for a model railway, a dressing room or a library? According to Jutta Kehr, deputy chairwoman of the German Association of Interior Architects, practical uses are often the first to come into consideration. 'The mother gets her own space at last because the father already has his office space,' she says. All it takes to turn a child's room into a workroom or sewing room is a fresh coat of paint and the right furniture. Laying linoleum or parquet makes it easier to vacuum, advises the architect.
A dressing room conversion is one of the more popular choices at the moment. 'Women love having a dressing room,' says Mareike Hermann from the DIY Academy. Along with plenty of space for all those shoes, a dressing room provides you with storage space for items such as blankets and travel cases. Floor length mirrors, a chair, a make-up table and a couple of wardrobes are all you need to make the perfect dressing room complete. Even better is if it's right beside the bedroom.
A daybed, a sofa and a yoga mat are all you need for a meditation room. Add an infra-red sauna cabin and you've got a spa. Sauna cabins are available in DIY format and are easy to set up. 'Just plug them into the power supply. The best place to put one is in a room beside the bathroom,' says Hermann.
Jutta Kehr says the choice of what to do with a child's room depends on the rest of your living space. If the bedroom is right beside the living room you could remove the separating wall, install a sliding door, and extend your living space. Kehr recommends matching the basic colour tone to the other rooms in your home.
You should also take into account the fact that you are getting older. Converting the room is an opportunity to build in lighting suitable for an elderly person and to remove anything that might trip you up.
According to Evan Reinhold-Postina, spokeswoman for the Association of Private Home Builders, many couples opt for a second sleeping room to accommodate a snoring partner. In many cases it is then later converted into a care room for the elderly.
If the bathroom and your child's former bedroom are right beside each other you might want to think of creating a barrier-free bathroom. Removing the dividing wall will create more space and room to move about in. You can separate the bath and the shower or enlarge both. If water pipes are in the way you could think of converting the kid's room into an extra bathroom.
It takes planning to complete a project like that and it's a good idea to set your ideas down on paper and work out a budget first. Simple renovation work like painting, drilling holes and light construction work can be carried out by anyone with a knack for DIY. Electrical wiring and plumbing, on the other hand, are a matter for the professionals.
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